The Africa Cup of Nations leaves the Italian with a number of absentees for the majority of the month, with Yaya Toure, his brother Kolo and youngster Abdul Razak are all on duty for the Ivory Coast.
Mancini also has a number of injury concerns to deal with, with Micah Richards not expected to recover from a knee problem until the end of Februaury, whilst summer signing Jack Rodwell is also a casualty. When asked if he would need to strengthen his squad in January, Mancini told reporters: “Probably. We can’t sell players. We don’t have enough players to play if we sell players.”
Mancini is expected to name an unchanged side for the visit of Stoke today.
Edin Dzeko, who found out he was starting against Norwich only hours before kick-off, is likely to lead the frontline again alongside Sergio Aguero against Tony Pulis’ side.
Meanwhile, Samir Nasri has been suspended for three matches after Manchester City opted not to appeal against the French midfielder’s controversial red card in the Premier League champions’ 4-3 win against Norwich.